Many children with asthma also have some kind of pet allergy. For some, the problems are so mild that they can be allergic to their own pet without noticing it. For others, all it takes is to meet someone who has been in contact with an animal for asthma symptoms to appear.
For children who are allergic to animal allergans, the school environment usually means increased problems. Particles from animals on the clothes of their friends can cause symptoms to appear and contribute to a need for medication. Children who are asthmatic and allergic to pets should avoid keeping animals they cant tolerate at home.
Today there are a number of dog breeds that most people with dog allergy can tolerate. Naturally, this varies between individuals but may still be of some guidance if you are thinking about getting a pet. When it comes to dogs, it is not the fur that causes the allergy but shed skin flakes, saliva, urine etc.
Some children with asthma and pet allergies may be able to keep caged birds as pets. However, the bird food and the wooden chips in the cage may be problematic. It is a good idea to check in advance if the child is also allergic to wood chips and bird food.
Allergy to cats is the most common type of pet allergy. Cat allergens - substances triggering the allergy - can be almost everywhere and they can remain in the house for several years after the cat has been removed. Some children with asthma have such severe problems that they cannot even be in the surroundings of a cat. Others will have milder problems such as a runny nose, sneezing, cough or itchy eyes. Cats are rarely a possible option when you are getting a pet if someone in your family has asthma.
Other pets for children with asthma that usually work well are turtles, lizards or snakes.
Children wanting to do horseback riding in spite of having a pet allergy might possibly tolerate Bashkir horses. For the child it may mean a lot to be around animals even if it is not possible to be around all kinds of animals.
Sometimes you have to really examine what works and what does not.
UK/GEN/15/0056f Date of preparation: December 2015